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DRDO conducts maiden flight-test of phase-II ballistic missile defense interceptor

  • Published
    3rd Nov, 2022
Context

India has successfully conducted the maiden flight test of the Phase-II Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) interceptor AD-1 missile.

About

About AD (Air Defense)-1:

  • The AD-1 is a long-range interceptor missile.
  • AD-1 is a unique type of interceptor with advanced technologies available with only a very few nations in the world.
  • It is designed for both low exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric interception of long-range ballistic missiles as well as aircraft.
  • It is propelled by a two-stage solid motor and equipped with an indigenously-developed advanced control system, navigation, and guidance algorithm to precisely guide the vehicle to the target.

About the flight test:

  • During the flight test, all the sub-systems performed as per expectations.
  • The same was validated by the data captured by several range sensors including Radar, Telemetry, and Electro-Optical Tracking stations deployed to capture the flight data.

Apprehensions:

  • BMD is ineffective against Cruise missiles. Both China and Pakistan have cruise missiles capable of delivering the nuclear payload.
  • No BMD can have a 100% success rate in the interception of the projectile (ballistic missile).
  • BMD is a very costly affair.
  • Even after interception there remain chances of damage, especially if the interception is done in the terminal phase of the ballistic missile.

What’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) System?

  • A Ballistic Missile Defence system (BMD) is a missile defense system that acts as a shield against ballistic missile attacks.
  • You may not that the purpose is defense (by intercepting a ballistic missile) and not attack/offense.
  • A ballistic missile can be intercepted in three phases:
  • Terminal phase: During the atmospheric descent phase.
  • Mid-course interception (in-flight interception): Most preferred interception.
  • Lift-off phase: Targeting at the launch point- requires advanced radars.

Indian Ballistic Missile Defence Programme:

  • The Indian Ballistic Missile Defence Program is an initiative to develop and deploy a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system to protect India from ballistic missile attacks.
  • It was launched in 2000 after Kargil War by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
  • India has an active ABM development effort using indigenously developed and integrated radars, and indigenous missiles.
  • In November 2006, India successfully conducted the PADE (Prithvi Air Defence Exercise) in which an anti-ballistic missile, called the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD), an exo-atmospheric (outside the atmosphere) interceptor system, intercepted a Prithvi-II ballistic missile.

Development:

Phase 1

  • The development of the anti-ballistic missile system began in 1999.
  • Development of Phase-I was designed to track and destroy nuclear missiles both inside (endo) and outside (Exo) the earth's atmosphere at altitudes from 15-25 km to 80-100 km for “a higher kill probability”.
  • Around 40 public and private companies were involved in the development of the systems.
  • They include Ordnance Factory Board, Bharat Electronics Limited, and Bharat Dynamics among others.
  • Defense Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) developed the mission control software for the AAD missile.
  • As of April 2019, Phase 1 of the program has been completed.

Phase 2

  • In Phase 2, two new anti-ballistic missiles that can intercept IRBMs are being developed.
  • These high-speed missiles (AD-1 and AD-2) are being developed to intercept ballistic missiles with a range of around 5,000 km.

Two- tiers of India’s BMD

Prithvi Air Defence (PAD)

Advanced Air Defense (AAD)

  • Also referred to as Pradyumna Ballistic Missile Interceptor.
  • It’s designed for High altitude interception (exo-atmospheric interception).
  • Intercept missiles at altitudes between 50 – 80 km.
  • The interceptor is Prithvi Defense Vehicle (PDV) which has two-stage, both with solid propellants.
  • It is also called Ashwin Ballistic Missile Interceptor.
  • It’s an endo-atmospheric interception system (for low-altitude interception).
  • The altitude of interception is range up to 30 km.
  • It has a single-stage solid-fueled missile.
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